See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

Saudi Arabia signs 20 billion USD in agreements with Pakistan

‘Pakistan will be a very important country in coming future,’ says Saudi crown prince.


Written by

Updated: February 19, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday expressed optimism about the economic future of Pakistan, saying his country had been waiting for a leadership like that of Prime Minister Imran Khan to partner with Islamabad in various areas.

Addressing a reception dinner at Prime Minister House hours after arriving in Pakistan, the crown prince — known as MBS for short — said Pakistan is a “dear country” to all Saudis and that the two countries “have walked together in tough and good times”.

He said Pakistan today had a great future in store “with a great leadership”, and noted that the country’s GDP grew by 5 per cent in 2018.

“We believe that Pakistan is going to be a very, very important country in the coming future and we want to be sure we are part of that,” the crown prince said.

Turning towards Prime Minister Khan, he said his country had been “waiting for that kind of a leadership” to partner with and “build a lot of things together”.

He noted that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan today signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for investment cooperation.

“We believe the amount of that kind of investment is US $20 billion,” MBS said. “It’s big, for phase one.”

He expressed the hope that the investment will grow to bigger numbers in the coming years and be beneficial for both the countries.

The Saudi royal said his country would collaborate with Pakistan economically, politically and in terms of security. “We believe in our region, that is why we are investing in it,” he added.

“This is my first trip [to the] east since I became the crown prince and the first country [that I have visited] is Pakistan,” the Saudi royal concluded.

Saudi Arabia a ‘friend in need’: PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech welcomed the Saudi crown prince and his delegation to the country, saying the Kingdom has always been a “friend in need” to Pakistan.

“For Pakistanis, this is a great day,” the premier said, adding that Saudi Arabia had always been there when Pakistan needed friends.

“I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in [a] bad situation,” Khan told MBS, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be mutually beneficial for the countries.

The investment would revolve around minerals, tourism, petrochemicals, agriculture, food processing and other areas, he said.

Prime Minister Khan also invited Riyadh to avail opportunities that can arise from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan’s close links with Beijing. “It is an exciting future where we have Saudi Arabia participating in what is going to be, in the next 10 years, probably the country with the biggest GDP,” he added.

Khan told MBS that if it hadn’t been for security concerns, “you would have seen thousands and thousands of people on the streets welcoming you.”

The prime minister’s speech preceded the address of the Saudi crown prince, but once MBS finished, Khan rose again to speak about two issues.

One, he requested MBS to allow Pakistani Haj pilgrims to undergo immigration at the three major Pakistani airports before leaving for Saudi Arabia for their convenience.

Secondly, Prime Minister Khan requested the Saudi authorities to look into the hardships of the Pakistani labourers working in the Kingdom.

“There are some 3,000 [Pakistani] prisoners there and we just would like you to bear in mind that they are poor people who have left their families behind,” Khan said.

Terming it a “special request”, the premier asked MBS to “look upon them [Pakistani labourers] as your own people”.

In response, MBS told Prime Minister Khan he could consider him the ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia.

“We cannot say no to Pakistan … whatever we can do, we will deliver that.”

MoUs for bilateral cooperation signed

Prior to the dinner, Pakistani and Saudi officials signed MoUs for bilateral cooperation in a number of areas — a process overseen by Prime Minister Khan and MBS. The agreements signed include:

  • Technical cooperation programme between the Saudi Standards, Metrology And Quality Organisation (SASO) and Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA)
  • Cooperation agreement between Saudi and Pakistani governments in the field of sports
  • Financing agreement for the import of Saudi goods between the Saudi Fund for Development and Pakistan
  • Framework MoU regarding Saudi funds’ participation in the financing of power generation projects between the Saudi Fund for Development and Pakistan
  • MoU between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to explore investment opportunities in refining and petrochemical sectors
  • MoU between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the field of mineral resource sector
  • MoU between the government of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on the development of renewable energy projects

One-on-one meeting

Prime Minister Khan also held a one-on-one meeting with the Saudi crown prince at PM House. It was followed by the inaugural session of the Saudi-Pak Supreme Coordination Council.

Co-chaired by Khan and MBS, the council was formed to put in place a high-level institutional mechanism to fast-track decisions in key areas of bilateral cooperation, and for close monitoring of their implementation, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The council which was originally proposed by MBS will cover areas under three pillars: political and security, economic, social and culture.

Under the council, a steering committee and joint working groups have been set up at ministerial and senior officials levels to develop frameworks of cooperation in specific projects and submit recommendations to the respective ministers.

The functioning of the body will be coordinated by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. The Supreme Coordination Council will meet annually in Riyadh and Islamabad, alternately.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

G20 draft calls for digital economy rules within the year

Digital laws have been proposed before in the past but is gaining traction ahead of the G20s. The leaders’ declaration for this week’s Group of 20 summit will call for creating a framework for drawing up international rules on the digital economy to be called the “Osaka track,” according to a draft obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun. It will also call for achieving results within the year. The G20 leaders are scheduled to gather in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. In the draft, the section on the digital economy is part of a separate “Osaka statement.” The Osaka statement draft welcomes progress in discussions among about 80 interested World Trade Organization member states on an e-commerce accord. The draft expresses the G20’s support for rule creation and other developments in this area through the Osaka track. It states that the leaders vow to collaborate so people all over the world w


By The Japan News
June 27, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Korea, Saudi seek closer cooperation

The two sign MOUs, deals worth over $8 billion. President Moon Jae-in and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia met in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas. The crown prince arrived in Seoul earlier in the day and was met by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon before moving on to Cheong Wa Dae for a welcoming ceremony followed by a meeting with Moon and his top aides. At the meeting, Moon stressed the importance of Korea-Saudi relations, highlighting economic projects between the two countries and Seoul’s involvement in Saudi’s Vision 2030 program. The Vision 2030 program is aimed at reducing the country’s economic dependence on oil and developing its public service sectors. “Korea is a strategic partner in Vision 2030, and the two countries are expanding the horizon of cooperation beyond construction and energy to ICT, smart infr


By The Korea Herald
June 27, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Iran says US ‘lying’ on talks

Tehran vows to reduce commitments to 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The United States enacted a new round of sanctions on Monday, targeting Iran’s supreme leader and some senior officials, further escalating tensions between the two sides. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday, saying he is “imposing hard-hitting sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the office of the supreme leader of Iran and many others”. Trump accused Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of being ultimately “responsible for the hostile conduct” of the country. In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the fresh sanctions prove that Washington is lying about seeking to hold talks with Teheran. “At the same time as you call for negotiations you seek to sanction the foreign minister? It’s o


By China Daily
June 27, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Chinese aircraft carrier passes through Taiwan Strait

Taiwan says it closely monitored the situation. Taiwan’s military said June 25 it closely monitored the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, as it passed through the Taiwan Strait earlier in the day. Having completed its mission in the South China Sea, the aircraft carrier, accompanied by a number of other combat ships, sailed north through the Taiwan Strait before returning to its home port of Qingdao in Shandong province, according to the defense ministry. The Liaoning is China’s first aircraft carrier and is named after one of its northeastern provinces. The 300-meter-long vessel was refurbished and upgraded from an unfinished Soviet carrier and commissioned in 2012. The Liaoning was observed passing through the Miyako Strait in the East China Sea earlier this month on its way to the Pacific Ocean, where the People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted training operations, according to Japan


By Cod Satrusayang
June 27, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Japan, Russia to not discuss sensitive territorial issue at G20

Japan, Russia likely to skip agreement on travel to northern territories at G20. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are unlikely to agree on a framework to facilitate travel to the northern territories at their bilateral meeting to be held as early as Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, according to Japanese government sources. Since April, the two governments have been studying a system to grant people traveling between the two countries and the northern territories special passport and visa treatment. The system would enable joint economic activities without harming the legal positions of Japan and Russia, which both claim sovereignty over the four islands. Japan had been considering a Russian proposal to allow short-term visa exemptions for travel between Hokkaido and Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, with the aim of reaching an


By The Japan News
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Vietnam, EU to sign free trade agreement

The agreement will be signed in Hanoi on June 30. The European Council announced on Tuesday that it has approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and assigned the EU to sign the deals with Vietnam on June 30 in Hanoi The EVFTA and EVIPA are the most ambitious agreements concluded between the EU and a developing country. Once the EVFTA takes effect, over 99 per cent of tariff on goods from both sides will be lifted. Vietnam will remove 65 per cent of import tariff on goods from the EU. Remaining tariffs will be removed in the next decade. Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection. Meanwhile, the EVITA will h


By Viet Nam News
June 26, 2019